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Uttarakhand to take up leopard census


                                                                                                                                         The Hindu, Dehradun, 6th February, 2015

KAVITA UPADHYAY

The Uttarakhand Forest Department will conduct a fresh census of leopards in the State this year. File Photo:CV.Subrahmanyam

After a delay of seven years, the Uttarakhand Forest Department, in collaboration with the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), will conduct a fresh census of leopards in Uttarakhand, this year.

“The last census of leopards was done in the year 2008 when there were more than 2,000 leopards in Uttarakhand,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) A K Dutt said, adding that the number of leopards in the State might have been reduced over the years owing to leopard deaths in accidents, and as a consequence of the human-wildlife conflicts in the State.

After Uttarakhand gained Statehood in the year 2000, 829 leopards have died due to natural causes and accidents including 409 leopards that died between 2009 and 2014.

Human-wildlife conflict

In the past 14 years 241 people have been killed, and 401 have been injured by leopards across Uttarakhand, especially in Almora, Chamoli, Pithoragarh, and Pauri districts. Drastic steps like killing leopards are taken once a leopard attacks and kills a human. Many leopard deaths in Uttarakhand are a consequence of human-wildlife conflicts.

“We believe that every animal must survive. To achieve this, we will purchase six Denmark made tranquilizer guns so that we can capture the leopards (that kill human beings) and put them in the rescue centres across the State instead of killing them,” Mr Dutt said.

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/uttarakhand-to-take-up-leopard-census/article6865788.ece